A first-ever recycling program for live Christmas Trees has been established at Lake Willastein.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have chosen a sit at Lake Willastein where live trees can be brought that will later be placed in the lake to enhance fishing habitats.

For the first time this year, there will be a location at Lake Willastein where the public can recycle their Christmas trees. The drop off location will be in front of the World War II bunker, adjacent to the boat ramp parking lot and just south of the Veterans Memorial.

The public can drop trees off any time after Christmas and through the month of January. This is a chance to recycle your Christmas tree, and to help improve fishing.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently conducted an electrofishing assessment of the lake, and found that the sportfish population was in good shape, including both good numbers and sizes of largemouth bass and sunfish.

Benjamin G. Batten, the commission’s Program Coordinator – Family and Community Fishing Program, said, "One thing that we believe could help improve the fishery is the addition of some fish habitat. The vast majority of the middle of the lake does not have a lot of structure or cover, and adding clusters of Christmas trees will help concentrate the fish, which should also help to increase angler catch rates."

He said, "These Christmas trees help to give small fish a chance to hide from larger fish, and for larger fish to have a source of food and shelter. Wise anglers can then capitalize by focusing their fishing efforts on these heavily fish concentrated areas. We will make somewhere between 5-10 large brush piles which will be marked by orange "fish attractor" buoys."

Batten said this project is a cooperative project between Maumelle Parks and Recreation, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Hunter Almond, a Maumelle student who recently participated in AGFC’s Youth Conservation Institute. For more information, call 680-7272.